China bans online e-cigarette sales

China has banned online sales of e-cigarettes in the latest blow for the nascent vaping industry, which has come under intensifying scrutiny around the globe.

All websites and apps selling e-cigarettes should be shut down and all online marketing campaigns halted, said a statement by the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration and State Administration for Market Regulation on Friday.

The measures are aimed at protecting adolescents from vaping, it said.

The directive also ordered online shopping platforms to remove e-cigarette products from their sites.

The ban is the latest restriction on an industry whose fortunes have soured rapidly in the past few months as a mysterious lung disease linked to vaping affected hundreds and killed 37 people.

Once seen as providing a useful tool to help smokers quit cigarettes, e-cigarettes are now banned by 27 countries including India and Australia, while Juul, the largest U.S. e-cigarette company, has been probed for marketing to teenagers.

Now read: Vaping and cancer debate

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China bans online e-cigarette sales